Tag: top ten tuesday

Jan 21

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Wishlist

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Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

This week the Broke and the Bookish have challenged us with a doozy of a Top Ten Tuesday Topic. We’ve been charged with listing the top ten things on out reading wishlist. What in heaven’s name does that mean? Well, if you could make authors write about anything: time periods, genres, characters, whimsy, and whatnot, what would you choose? Basically, we’re going to take a trip inside my bubbling cauldron of a brain and see what surfaces.

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 1. The Unholy Mingling of Science Fiction and Historical Fiction: Time Travel! I’m a sucker for a good “sucked back in time” story. More please!

2. Gardening: I am a floral fiend, so when when authors work flowers and gardening into a nice tasty novel. The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns (my review), The Language of Flowers (my review)… Sigh. So much to love.

3. Penguins: Where’d You Go, Bernadette (my review), And Tango Makes Three (my review), Mary Poppins, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins have proven that books featuring penguins, no matter how subtly, can be done well. Please, literary world, I want some more!

4. Actual Clones of Rainbow Rowell: I’m not talking about people ripping off Rainbow Rowell, I’m talking like 2 or 3 spare Rainbows. I am selfish and horrible and would like her catalog of work would build up more quickly. I am so friggin creepy. I devoured Attachments (my review), Eleanor & Park (my review), and Fangirl(my review) so fast that the anticipation for Landline is KILLING me!

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5. Fractured Fairy Tales: That don’t take themselves too seriously. I like fractured fairy tales, but I LOVE them when they have a good dose of humor worked in.

6. Feisty Females: I have really been digging the trend in YA lit to showcase female characters with guts. Sure, there are still some damsels in distress out there, but butt kicking girls who make things happen? We could use a few (zillion) more.

7. Villains with Depth: Few things annoy me as much as reading a villain with no motive. Give me a heartbreaking back story or a scientific explanation for these people. Maybe I’m too wishy washy, but I just can’t buy into the whole born evil thing. I refuse!

Yes, evil medical school is a valid back story. (Source)

Yes, evil medical school is a valid back story. (Source)

8. Romance with a Healthy Dash of Humor: I’m too old for teen angst. Funny things happen when people fall in love. I want to hear about that! Sure, there can be some mooning and sighing in there, but give me a snarky BFF or a dog or something.

I was looking for a laughing gif and this came up. You can understand that I had no choice. It demanded posting. (Source)

I was looking for a laughing gif and this came up. You can understand that I had no choice. It demanded posting. (Source)

 I’ve only got 8, but the gifs make up for it, right? Tell me Bookworms, what’s on YOUR reading wish list?! 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use the proceeds to fund the Clone Rainbow Rowell Project.*

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Jan 07

Top Ten Tuesday: New Year’s Resolution Edition

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Howdy Bookworms,

I know it’s been 2014 for nearly a week now, but it’s not too late for a few resolutions, is it? The ladies at The Broke and the Bookish certainly don’t think so. Let’s talk about plans, shall we?

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1. I committed to read 100 books again this year in the Goodreads Challenge. I made it in 2013 (with a book to spare!) I’m going to see if it was a fluke or if I can do it again. Mmmm books!

2. Write more posts in advance. This is a new one for me, but this whole “scrambling to put together a post the night before it goes live” thing has been wearing me out. As for how long it will last? Probably not very. But I’ll give it a shot anyway!

3. More vlogging. I had a lot of fun putting together the first two video blogs for the site, and my husband isn’t annoyed at helping me with them yet. In fact, he keeps coming up with ideas (mostly really random jokes that nobody gets) that he thinks I should incorporate.

4. Be more organized. This is a perennial resolution for me, but it’s become clear to me this year what a mess I’ve been. If a post of mine goes live in conjunction with the release date of a new book, it’s been pure luck thus far. Organization has never been my strong suit, so this will be a challenge for me!

5. I would really love to come up with some new features around here. I’ve been mulling some ideas for a while, but so far nothing has stuck.

6. Tackle the TBR stack. I know, I know, this is everyone’s resolution, but really. I have a big backlog I’d like to work through.

7. Participate! There are so many awesome challenges out there, I’m going to try to get involved in more of them.

8. TAME THE BEAST. Much as I loathe to admit this, the green-eyed-monster and I are well acquainted. I see other book bloggers coming up with brilliant ideas and/or having lots of success, and while I’m happy for them, there’s usually a little gnawing in my stomach going on. Why didn’t I think of that? Why am I not that cool? Will I ever match that brilliance? It’s not a productive use of my time. Be gone, monster!

What? 8 resolutions isn’t enough for you? Fine, then give me some of yours. No really… What are your resolutions?

 

 

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Dec 31

Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

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Howdy Bookworms!

Today being New Year’s Eve, it seems only appropriate that I wrap things up with the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish. It’s time to list the Top Ten Books I read in 2013. Wahoo!

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1. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (my review) This book, you guys. I want to chase people around and press copies into their hands. June is such a great character to watch come of age. And Finn and Toby and the 80s AIDS epidemic? My heart. It’s ah-mazing. Read it, read it, read it!

2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (my review) It’s your classic tale of unemployed girl meets quadriplegic boy… I don’t care if it’s kind of sappy, I loved it. Many tears were shed with this one, my friends. Have a hanky handy.

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (my review) This was our inaugural selection for The Fellowship of the Worms and it was awesome! I loved this book- the intrigue and secrecy and scandal and surprises. Wonderful. (We’re going to pretend that Bellman & Black didn’t happen, mkay?)

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4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (my review) I fell in love with Rainbow Rowell’s writing while reading Eleanor & Park. Her teenagers sound like teenagers, and high school is a big mess of awkwardness. It’s beautiful the way she makes young love feel so real- I mean, hand holding. Do you remember when hand holding was a big deal? Butterflies. She brought them back. Siiiigh.

5. Feed by Mira Grant (my review) I love zombie novels! They have the monster element and apocalyptic scenarios all mushed together. The Feed trilogy has taken the top spot in the rankings of my favorite zombie books. If you have even the slightest inclination to read these, do it.

6. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (my review) I’ve always been partial to historical fiction, and I’ve always loved the whole “tracing famous art to its origin story” plot line. This book offers a fictional take on the back story of one of Degas’ most famous sculptures, and it’s pretty fabulous. Ballerinas were waifs because they were too poor to eat! The more you know.

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7. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood (my review) Nobody does a dystopia like Atwood. The completion of the saga begun with Oryx & Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood was finished this year. Thank goodness, too, because I’d been anxiously awaiting the conclusion for 4 years. Patience is not my strongest trait.

8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (my review) This book was a fascinating take on WWII from the point of view of two British young women and an inside look at a wartime spy operation. Friendship and war and espionage. So good!

9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (my review) I don’t know how I managed to avoid this book for so long, but I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. Christopher is brilliant, but he suffers from a form of autism, which makes “ordinary” life challenging for him. Seeing the world through his eyes was by turns fascinating, funny, and heartbreaking. Great read!

10. The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway (my review) I love flowers nearly as much as I love penguins. It’s an intense thing. This book focused on a woman who spent her time cultivating and breeding new varieties of roses in between dialysis appointments. She’s soon saddled with her teenage niece and a whole new life challenge ensued. Loved every minute of this.

It was tough to choose a top ten, but I think this is a pretty good list. Here’s to more awesome books in 2014!

What were some of your favorite reads this year, bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase of any of the above listed books through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 17

Authors I “Met” in 2013: Top Ten Tuesday!

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Good Day, Glorious Bookworms!

I’m getting back on the bandwagon this week with The Broke and The Bookish. It’s THE RETURN of Top Ten Tuesday! The week, the ladies asked us to list our favorite “new to me” authors in 2013. I ran into a whole lot of awesome new-to-me authors this year. Let me tell you ’bout them!

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1. Rainbow Rowell: In 2013, I read every book Rainbow Rowell has ever published. Sure, her catalog is only three titles (Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and Fangirl), but I cannot get enough. New release in 2014? Heck yes! Rainbow, we should be pals. I’m only minimally creepy. Swearsies. (Reviews here, here, and here.)

2. Mira Grant: I freaking love Mira Grant. I loved her take on zombies in the Feed trilogy. I love her mad scientists. I love her slightly manic characters. I can’t put down her books, and I don’t want to try. Yay, Mira! (Reviews here, here, and here… And here.)

3. Jojo Moyes: I was BLOWN AWAY by Me Before You and I adored The Girl You Left BehindI respect a writer who can both depress me and make me feel hopeful at the same time. Get back, Jojo! (Reviews here and here.)

4. Carol Rifka Brunt: Debut author? Are you kidding? Tell The Wolves I’m Home was probably the best book I read this year. Obsessed. Will read all future releases. (Review)

tellthewolvesimhome5. Justin Cronin: Oooooh scary, scary, scary. The Passage was great fun, I plan to read The Twelve soon, at which point I will begin whining and pining for the final installment in the trilogy. (Review)

6. Margaret Dilloway: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns broke a nasty reading slump for me. Hot damn, I love horticulture! (Review)

7. Elizabeth Wein: Because Code Name Verity ripped my soul apart and stitched it back together. (Review)

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8. Maria Semple: not only was Where’d You Go, Bernadette funny and weird, a cruise to Antarctica featured prominently. PENGUINS. (Review)

9. Isaac Marion: At this point, everybody knows I’ve got a soft spot for zombie lore. Warm Bodies was basically Romeo and JulietIf Romeo craved human flesh. Loved it! (Review)

10. Jennifer Crusie: This gal is my new go-to for romance. I like my romance novels cheesy, but tongue-in-cheek. She hasn’t let me down yet! (Reviews here, here, and here)

So, there’s my list. It’s not exhaustive, but I think I covered the high points. What say you, Bookworms? New to you authors in 2013 you absolutely adored? Tell us about them!

*Full Disclosure: Any purchases made from Book Depository via this site will earn your friendly neighborhood book blogger a small commission. Thanks for your support!*

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Nov 27

First World and Thankful (Top Ten Tuesday on Wednesday)

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Salutations, my little Bookworms!

I skipped Top Ten Tuesday yesterday because as much as I love The Broke and the Bookish, the Glue Crew is where my loyalties lie. However, I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk about being thankful as tomorrow is THANKSGIVING and all. I’ve been reading a lot of these and they’re all really sweet. However. I wrote last week about loving my husband, and I’ve written recently about my little cousin, so you know I dig my family ties. I thought I’d take a slightly different and kind of materialistic approach and talk about some of the things I’m thankful for living in the here and now. Ready?

firstworldthankful1. Electricity: Have you ever stopped to think about how awesome electricity is? Like, really thought about it? Light and heat at your fingertips, whenever you need it. Heck yeah!

2. Central Heating and Cooling: It gets cold in Illinois. It gets hot in Illinois. I am able to pretend seasons don’t exist when I’m in my house thanks to central heating and cooling. I like to avoid both hypothermia and heatstroke, thankyouverymuch.

3. Internet Access: Without the INTERNET, I wouldn’t have this blog. Without this blog, I would be sad. Three cheers for LOLCats, animated gifs, and BOOK BLOGS!

4. Indoor Plumbing: I had some traumatic incidents in my youth with girl scout camp, latrines, and bladder control. They were just so ICKY, y’all. Flushing toilets and running water are privileges, people!

5. Microwaves: Dude. I love my microwave. I am not a fan of cooking, and reheating food should be FAST because I’m HANGRY. I love, you microwave.

6. Cars: As much as I wish I could apparate Harry Potter style, I’ve got some serious appreciation for motor vehicles. Do you have any idea how long it would take to make the 150 mile trek to my parents’ house in a covered wagon? Me neither, but I’m pretty sure it would suck.

7. The Printing Press: Hey Gutenberg! I’m your biggest fan! The dude who invented the printing press deserves mad props. Mass production of books?! Can you even imagine living before you could have books whenever you wanted them? Monks would have to copy them, and even though their handwriting was very, very fancy, it was hard to read… And expensive… And you would probably have been too busy farming turnips to notice.

8. My Kindle: I know there are some purists out there who hate the e-book, but I refuse to believe it’s the death knell of the publishing industry. I’ve purchased a LOT more books to keep on my kindle than I did with physical books. The storage space I save makes my heart happy. Plus, my Paperwhite has a glow light background so I can read in bed without keeping the Hubs awake. Love it!

9. Pants: I like a dress as much as the next girl, but I really like the fact that I can wear pants whenever I darn well please. I know there are some hardcore religions that don’t get down with ladies wearing pants, and while I respect that, I’m glad it’s not me. Like I said. Pants rule. (Oh, ladies. If you’re stuck in a pantsless religion and you really want some pants? Give me a call. I’ll hook you up. PANTS!)

10. YOU. I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to get mushy, but it’s true. I’m so thankful for my little contingent of readers and the blogging community that has embraced me (book blogging and just regular ole’ blogging) my little heart could burst. Thank you for being the very best EVER!

Now what I really need is your HONEST opinion, Bookworms. Who wore it best? Me, or my neighbor Simon? Happy Thanksgiving!

Fierce!

Fierce!

 

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Nov 19

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for my Baby Cousin

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Hey Bookworms!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I participated in the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly extravaganza that is Top Ten Tuesday. Today we’ve been challenged to create a list of recommendations with a specific person in mind. I’ve got me a baby cousin. Well, okay, she’s not really a baby anymore, she’s 12… I’m not really sure when that happened. However, I was wracking my brains and I kept coming back to books I think Dana ought to read, so she wins today’s list. (Remember my post about snarky eyebrows? That was an ode to Dana’s older brother Adam. These kids, man. These kids…)

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1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry- This might be a little below your reading level, but if you haven’t read it, you simply must. It’s about WWII and it’s full of everyday people being brave and doing the right things. Sometimes you need to hear about that stuff when you’re 12.

2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Alice in Wonderland is for little kids. Forget what you saw in the Disney movie. I mean, I guess you can remember it, because that was pretty screwy, but still. These books are clever and full of word play. I also happen to know you and the fam are into Dr. Who and the cosplay scene- Alice should be a pre-requisite for all fantasy endeavors.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry (my review). I was about your age the first time I read this and it kind of blew my mind. The sequels are not as good, but certainly worth a read if you enjoy this one. It’s set in a scary strange future where people can’t see in color and everyone’s life is weirdly regimented. You’ll be super stoked to not be living in their community, I promise.

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4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know. You’ve probably been there, done that. Wasn’t it awesome though?! Katniss was such a butt-kicking character! You’re a girl who shall never be a damsel in distress, so you and Katniss would probably be great friends. (If you could look past her obvious psychological damage stemming from the fact that she was forced to fight other children to the death in an arena setting…)

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (my review). You’re a pretty mature 12, so I wouldn’t worry about giving you something with some heavier themes. This is another WWII book, but it rocks. If you enjoyed Number the Stars and you’re feeling up to it, give this a shot. Did you know Grandpa fought in WWII? He did. When he went to enlist, he changed his name from “Karl” to “Charles” because it sounded “less German.” It’s a true story, Grandma told me. After you read this, you’ll understand why he didn’t want to be associated with Germany at that point in history, despite the fact that our family is largely of German ancestry. It’s a haunting and beautiful book, but have some tissues on hand.

6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (my review). Dude. Cinderella is a CYBORG. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one. Fractured fairy tales totally seem like your vibe.

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7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Don’t laugh! Your parents gave me a copy of this for Christmas when I was about your age and it’s awesome. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy will get all up inside your heart and make you want to buy petticoats and bloomers… And find out what a pickled lime tastes like (I still don’t know… Not sure that’s a bad thing though. The sound kind of gross, and we have pizza now, you know?)

8. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I know, I know, it’s another old fashioned book. It’s so much fun, though! Anne gets into all sorts of shenanigans. Just trust me on this one, alright? There’s hair dye and an episode of accidental underage drinking (The accidental part is key there. Drinking at your age is the WORST IDEA EVER. Promise me you won’t drink until you’re in college? I’m old and I worry.)

9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This book will make science and math seem cool, I swear. It’s really cool and full of time warps and alternate dimensions and mystery. Very Whovian, my dear.

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10. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (my review). Dana, my dearest. If you are anything like I was at your age, the fact that I’m bringing up this book at all is probably making you blush furiously and feel ill. It’s okay, pumpkin. The internet doesn’t know who you are (seriously, we don’t even have the same last name anymore.) This is a REALLY good book though, about feeling awkward and all the embarrassing girl stuff that goes on (or doesn’t) at your age. If it makes you feel better, check out a copy from the library and hide it under your pillow while you read it. That’s what I did. A girl deserves her privacy, you know?

There we have it, folks. My reading list dedicated to my not-so-baby-anymore cousin Dana. Any of you bookworms have a title to add? She’s quite the reader (I’m so proud) so I’m sure she’d appreciate the suggestions. 

Have you sent your address to wordsforworms@gmail.com yet? You know you want a bookmark! You also know that I’m an affiliate for Book Depository and that if you choose to make a purchase from any of the links in this post I’ll get a tiny kickback, right? It’s all on the up and up, swearsies. 

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Oct 29

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Costume Edition

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Howl do you do, Bookworms?

Today is Tuesday, and, as is traditional, I’m going to be making a list with the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic was supposed to be Top Ten Spooky Book covers or Top Ten Halloween Reads. However, I’m feeling rebellious (and I pretty much covered Top Ten Halloween reads in This Post.) I’m going rogue because I can do that, saucy minx that I am. I’ve been thinking about how much FUN it is to do bookish Halloween costumes, so I’m going to show off some fun ones. Ready?

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1. Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Alice is my homegirl. This homage? It surprises nobody. That doesn’t make it any less fun, though!

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2. Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins by P.L Travers. I must confess I’ve not read any of the Mary Poppins books. HOWEVER. Disney’s Mary Poppins has held a dear place in my heart for many many years. It also makes for a seriously cool Halloween costume. My pal Lyssa over at Psychobabble has some of the best Halloween costumes, and she graciously allowed me use of her pictures.

3. Little Red Riding Hood from Little Red Riding Hood by the uh, folklore of Europe? Fairy Tales lend themselves to fabulous Halloween costumes! Take, for example, this gem I donned in college.

How much do you love the bathrobe and towel in the background? College.

How much do you love the bathrobe and towel in the background? College.

4. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by JK Rowling. The Harry Potter series provides ENDLESS opportunity for kickin costumes, but Hermione is something special. Here, my for-real-in-person-friend Chrissy of Quirky Chrissy gets her Hogwarts on in a Hermione Costume.

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5. The Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. So I might be a bit of an Alice fan… Last year at DisneyWorld, I went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dressed in honor of the sneakiest of cats, that of the Cheshire Cat. I got the Queen of Hearts to pose with me, as an extra bonus.

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6. Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Lyssa seriously outdid herself this year with this killer Effie Trinket costume! She brought the crazy promoter of District 12 to life!

7. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Some guys (like my husband) are NOT into costumes. The dude Lyssa married? Totally down with costuming. Brian got his Peeta on to go with Lyssa’s Effie, and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty impressive.

 8. Tweedle Dee from Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll. Are you telling me that you and your high school friends DIDN’T put together the greatest group costume known to mankind in which you and your pal battled with kitchen utensils?! You missed out! (And no, I don’t think three Alice costumes is repetitive in the slightest.)

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9. A PENGUIN and we’ll go ahead and claim it’s from Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater.  Yes, I wore a penguin costume. To work. As an adult.

Penguin Katie!

 

10. The Cat in the Hat from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. This is a really fun costume. I wore it my junior year of high school. Unfortunately, photographic evidence is not in my possession at this time. Just trust me when I tell you that it was really stinking cute, okay?

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So my little Bookworms, what are some of your favorite literary inspired Halloween costumes?

*FTC Disclosure- Links in this post may direct you to the Book Depository. If you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. The better to buy more books with, my dears. *

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Oct 22

What's In A Name? Top Ten Tuesday Talks Literary Names!

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How Goes It, Bookworms?

Things are lovely here in my neck of the woods. Fall is in the air, Halloween is around the corner, and all is well. The only way it could be any better? A LIST! That’s right y’all. It’s TOP TEN TUESDAY and I’m joining up with the ladies of the Broke and the Bookish to play along. This week’s topic is Literary Names We Love or Unusual Character names. Now. When it comes to naming children, I’m super old school and wouldn’t consider anything that hadn’t been regularly used as a first name for at least 200 years. Literary characters, however, are not subject to such silly rules. I’ve got reasons I like the names, I swear. They just might not be good reasons. Ready?!?!

toptentuesday1. Cath and Wren from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Cath and Wren are twins… By surprise. That’s right. Despite modern technology, occasionally things slip by sonogram techs… Like spare fetuses. Anyway, their mom didn’t have two names chosen for her girls, so she split the one she had, “Catherine” in half.

2. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell– Fun fact! Scarlett’s first name is NOT Scarlett. It’s KATIE. That’s my name too! Whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt KATIE! Da da da da da da da!

3. Olivia Joules from Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding- Back when we thought Bridget Jones was done adventuring, Helen Fielding introduced us to another quirky heroine by the name of Olivia Joules. Now, Olivia was born with a different name, but she wanted to start fresh. How can you go wrong with naming yourself after the unit of measurement for kinetic energy? I know my own personal Joules (from Pocketful of Joules, of course) is the bee’s knees.

That's Joules on the left. And Lauren on the right. And Chrissy photobombing.

That’s Joules on the left, me, Lauren, and Chrissy sticking her tongue out. Plus obligatory photo bombers.

4. Fergus from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Sometimes you need to escape your past as a child prostitute, and the only way to make a clean break is by taking on the name of a Scottish warrior-type, okay?! Gosh!

5. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I really like puns, right? And Peeta’s family runs a bakery. Pita is a bread. I just tell myself that his parents were lousy spellers. District 12 isn’t exactly known for its educational system.

6. George from Feed by Mira Grant. I simply adore the idea that George Romero zombie movies proved vital in the war on Kellis-Amberlee. Naming children after various zombie movies (because Shaun is OBVIOUSLY named for Simon Pegg’s masterpiece)? Hilariousness. Mira Grant is crazy clever.

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7. Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I really like alliteration, and it would seem Rowling does, too. Why does the coolest professor at Hogwarts get the honor of being on this list instead of, say, Severus Snape, if the only qualifier is alliteration? Because she’s awesome, and I said so. Soooo. Yeah.

8. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights and I have a complicated relationship, BUT. Heathcliff is a cool name, and it totally reminds me of that kickin’ 80s cartoon with the orange cat.

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9. Coraline from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I’m still working on writing up my review for this one, but I really like the name Coraline. Gaiman said he came up with the name by butter-fingering the name “Caroline” while writing a draft. I tend to think faster than my fingers can type, so I’m prone to typos too. For a while I found myself typing “Kaite” instead of “Katie” pretty regularly, at which point I started pretending to myself that “Kaite” was simply a Gaelic spelling of “Katie.” I’m deluded.

10. Wendy Moira Angela Darling from Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie. I’ve got to give it up to the girl. If you can successfully rock two middle names and introduce yourself as such without a hint of irony? Girl’s got swagger.

What do you think, Bookworms? Have you got a favorite literary name? Let’s name us some houseplants! (Because that is a completely normal activity for college aged girls. What ELSE would you name a spider plant if not Charlotte?!)

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Oct 15

Required Reading That Wasn't a Chore: Top Ten Tuesday Edition

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Hey Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday and I’m about to get my list on. The lovely ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have come up with a wonderful topic this week. We’re discussing the top ten books we were forced to read. My take on this? I’m dishing up some books I read in school that I actually LIKED. I KNOW! Crazy right? Are you ready to have your minds blown?

toptentuesday

In High School…

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain- The curriculum at my high school focused our Junior year on American literature. After starting off the year slowly and writing a lot of papers on symbolism of books I didn’t enjoy (cough cough, Moby DickThe  Scarlet Letter… cough) we were assigned good old Huck Finn. Up to this point I hadn’t really expected to enjoy any of my assigned reading. Mark Twain seemed to be the cure for that attitude. Weirdly, of all the amazing stuff that goes on in this book, the vignette that had me most enthralled was when Huck and Jim had to deal with the feuding families, Hatfield and McCoy style. (Apparently I’m a sucker for a blood feud, because freshman year I totally loved Romeo and Juliet. Of course, the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes movie had come out the year before, so I’ve never trusted that my adoration of the book wasn’t based in part on the movie. Seriously though. That movie’s Mercutio? I love that guy.)

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- We were assigned to read Pride and Prejudice in the spring of my senior year, senior year having been devoted to British literature. Apparently we ignored all other English speaking countries’ literary canons (sorry Canada, Australia, etc… I found you eventually, don’t you worry!) I was not expecting to enjoy this book either, because I was 17 and content to dislike everything in the whole wide world. After struggling a bit to acclimate to the language I realized Pride and Prejudice was every bit as soapy and scandalous as the dramas I liked watching on TV. That Lydia. Whew. If that girl lived now, she’d so be on reality TV.

I hadn't even seen this face yet! (Image Source)

I hadn’t even seen this face yet! (Image Source)

3. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck– We read this one junior year, right after we finished the dreaded Moby Dick. The whole class liked it much better, likely due in large part to the relative modernity of the piece. Unfortunately someone vocalized that it was better because it was shorter, causing my English teacher to leave Great Illustrated Classics versions of Moby Dick on our desks the next day. It was kind of a dick move, but he was retiring that year and was probably sick of his students hating on Moby Dick. It was probably his favorite book or something. I don’t know. Of Mice and Men was awesome on its own merits though. Who didn’t cry when George told Lennie to think about the bunnies?!

4. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde- Back to Brit Lit for a moment. The spring of my senior year was such a treat. I am pretty sure my teacher that year intentionally saved the fun stuff for last because she knew we’d be taking the AP exam and wanted to be nice. We actually read this play aloud as a class. I’d never laughed so hard in school. I tried to avoid reading any lines (which is pretty weird of me, considering I was totally the lead in the Fall Play that year… Being a crappy actress apparently doesn’t mean much in a high school environment?) The premise is just SO ridiculous and cheeky and utterly charming that one can’t help but fall for it. Oh that Bunbury…

5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald– A junior year classic. I can’t describe to you how thrilling it was to read book after assigned book that wasn’t a complete chore! Gatsby was, of course, enthralling. Daisy and her moneyed voice, Gatsby and his hopeless obsession, the booze, the drama, the TWENTIES! What more could a high school kid want to read about?!

I still haven't seen this movie, but I'll take a glass of champagne. Thanks, Leo. (Image Source)

I still haven’t seen this movie, but I’ll take a glass of champagne. Thanks, Leo. (Image Source)

In College…

A little preface here. When I got to college I majored in Communications. I KNOW. But I was 18 and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Still don’t. Anywho, I decided to fill up my electives with classes that I knew would assign novels as “homework.” It was a crafty way of boosting my GPA and getting to do stuff I liked to do anyway. Plus it got me a double minor. Women’s Studies and History. Boom. 

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- I don’t know if it’s possible to rave ENOUGH about The Handmaid’s Tale, but dang it if I won’t try. I’ve talked about it on this blog endlessly, but if you haven’t read it yet, for reals. Why the heck not?! This was assigned in the first Women in Literature class I took and I fell HARD for the Atwood.

7. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich– We read this in one of my Women’s Studies classes. I don’t read much in the way of non fiction, but this book was so amazing. It focused on traditional women’s jobs- particularly those on the low end of the pay scale- to see just how hard it would be to get by in that situation. Barbara Ehrenreich went undercover and got jobs at Walmart, waitressing, and working with a maid service. Her descriptions of the working conditions and the pay are enough to get any feminist’s hackles up. A fantastic read, I highly recommend it!

nickel and dimed

8. Sula by Toni Morrison– This was the first Morrison I ever read. Talk about intense! The depth of the friendship between the female characters… The betrayals… Sula and her sultry ways shattering gender norms. It’s not a light read (though for Morrison, it’s not bad) but it’s a great introduction to an amazing writer.

9. The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan– Thanks to another Women in Literature class, I got hooked on books about China. This addiction began with The Kitchen God’s Wife. Oh Amy Tan! This woman can make foods I’d never ever try sound delectable. The heartwrenching way she describes the plight of Chinese women! Oh yeah. And that Chinese-Japanese war? Me and my Western focused education totally didn’t even know that happened.

10. Summer by Edith Wharton– Why yes, this was more assigned reading for a Women in Literature class. Don’t judge. I was gaming the system and my profs had impeccable taste! Summer was my first taste of a classic novel with a really juicy scandal (that wasn’t all destroyed by my having to write essays on the symbolism of red rose bushes… Still looking at you, Scarlet Letter…It made me realize just how “royally” (pun completely intended) screwed an unmarried pregnant women was not too long ago… First I got all mad at that jerk Harney. Then I got all creeped out by Mr. Royall… Then I realized that Mr. Royall was trying to save Charity and wasn’t just going to jump her bones… And then all was well… Ish. I mean, as well as it could be under the circumstances.

What about you, Bookworms? What are your favorite books that were assigned reading? What surprised you with its awesomeness? Tell me about it!

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Oct 08

Top Ten Tuesday: Best and Worst Series Enders

Children's Fiction, Coming of Age, Dystopian, Fantasy, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult Fiction 51

Happy Tuesday Bookworms!

Anybody else noticed that series are ALL THE RAGE these days? It seems like nobody feels like writing a stand alone book anymore… Or something. I’m a pretty big fan of series on the whole. Sometimes though, the last book in the series is truly a make or break moment. Today, the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list out our favorite and not so favorite series enders. Are you ready?!

toptentuesday

My Favorites:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. I don’t know if I can properly describe the level of satisfaction I felt during that epilogue. It ended beautifully, and as desperately as I want more and more and more Harry Potter, I am pleased with the way things wrapped up.

2. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. I loved everything about this series. I loved the weird names for gene spliced animals, the screwy scary fast food joints, the trippy cults- everything. I waited a good 4 years for the final book and I was NOT disappointed. That Atwood. She knows what she’s doing.

margaret-atwood-dystopic-trilogy

3. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. This ending wasn’t perfect because I wasn’t crazy about some of Katniss’s decisions. However, I liked that Collins emphasized the psychological implications of the horrors the characters endured. Plus, I’m a sucker for a “happy as circumstances will allow” ending.

4Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris. This was the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. The series ran out of steam and started getting pretty random somewhere around book 7, so my expectations for the series wrap up weren’t too high. However, I was quite pleased because I’d been rooting for one particular romance since book one and it totally happened. Yay for that!

Not So Favorites:

5. Son by Lois Lowry. Okay, so The Giver is one of the most amazing books since ever. It’s complete awesomeness. The rest of the series, however? It’s a little odd and a tiny bit preachy. The final installment, Son, spent an inordinate amount of time discussing climbing a cliff and a really bizarre supernatural twist. It was okay, but I think The Giver would have been better off with an epilogue than an additional 3 books.

son

6. The Death Cure by James Dashner. I started out loving The Maze Runner books and they progressively got less awesome. I mean, the ending was okay, but it felt like a cop out. Like Dashner couldn’t come up with a really supremely awesome ending and just sort of threw one in? Eh. Just not fantastic.

7. Reached by Ally Condie. I should start this out by saying that this book was by far my favorite in the Matched trilogy. I was actually very pleased with the direction the series went in the end, but GAH. The series as a whole was just such a disappointment for me. Love triangle. Bits and pieces of other dysopias all over the place. Just… No.

Jury is Out

(These series are not yet finished, but I’m invested, so….)

8. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It’s highly unlikely that I WON’T love the final installment of the Outlander series, aside from the fact that I’ll be a big ridiculous crybaby because it’s over…

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth. I’m pretty stoked for the upcoming release of Allegiant. It will totally make or break the series for me. It’s due out Oct 22. Very excited!

Divergent hc c(2)

10. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I can’t say that I think these are the greatest books ever, but I have enjoyed the novelty of Cinder and Scarlet so far. I love fractured fairy tales- it’s okay that they’re predictable, they’re FAIRY TALES. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, in spite of the occasional cheesiness.

What about you, Bookworms? Got a series ender that you loved and/or hated?! Tell us about it!

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